From their distinctive crown to their ruby red arils, pomegranates are royalty amongst fruit. Beautiful, delicious, full of antioxidants - they are the original superfood.
But when is pomegranate season? How on earth do you open them? And what should you use them for? Here's everything you didn't know you needed to know about pomegranates.
When Is Pomegranate Season?
Now is the time to buy the most festive fruit! Most pomegranates grown in the U.S. come from California and are in season from the end of September through November.
Though some varieties are harvested in late summer, the Wonderful variety, which makes up about 80 percent of the U.S. crop, is only in season from October through January. So be ready to pounce!
How to Pick a Pomegranate
Pomegranates in the supermarket have been picked when ripe, so they are ready to enjoy as soon as you buy them. The rind doesn’t have to be a perfect red to be filled with the most beautiful, juicy arils! Here's what to look for in a ripe pomegranate.
- Weight: A ripe pomegranate will be heavy for it's size.
- Skin: Rub on the skin to make sure it is tight and doesn’t pucker or ripple. Pomegranates dry out and shrink as they get older.
How To Cut
Pomegranate season is short and sweet. Luckily, they store really well. Whole pomegranates keep well at room temperature for one month and up to 3 months in the refrigerator.
Pomegranate seeds (arils) and juice can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen up to 6 months. However, defrosted arils can become a mushy mess, so it's best to add them, still frozen, to whatever it is you’re making.
How to Prepare
Removing the 840 seeds from a pomegranate is a lot easier than you think! The foolproof way to prep pomegranates is to use the no-mess "underwater" technique.
Cut off the top about a half inch from the crown.
Once you remove the top, four to six sections of the white membrane will be visible. Score the skin along each section.
Gently loosen the sections and submerge in a bowl of water.
Carefully pry the arils loose using your thumbs. The seeds sink to the bottom and you can scoop out everything that floats to the top!
Another method is to cut the pomegranate in half, push out the center a bit, hold each half over a bowl with the seeds facing down and tap with the skin with a wooden spoon to release the seeds. I've never had much success with this method, but others swear by it!
Pomegranates in the Kitchen
Besides providing a hefty dose of fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants, this ruby-red super fruit makes a delicious topping for salads, oatmeal, or yogurt. Use the sweet-tart seeds in sauces and syrups, or plop them into cocktails.
Enjoy pomegranate seeds by turn them into juice. Simply remove and crush the seeds in a plastic bag using a rolling pin. Strain the juice and enjoy!
What's your favorite way to use pomegranate? Let us know in the comments!